San Francisco County School Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Your child’s safety and wellbeing should be the highest priorities to the school district you trust to provide your child’s education. Unfortunately, the school system in San Francisco County, California is not always free from child sexual abuse and assault. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our attorneys offer representation to survivors of student sexual abuse throughout California. We have experience bringing and winning these claims on behalf of survivors and their families. Contact us today to discover whether you have a case.
Why Choose Manly, Stewart & Finaldi?
- We have over 25 years of experience litigating cases involving sexual assault.
- We pursue all liable parties, not just perpetrators (including school districts).
- We have gone up against some of California’s largest educational institutions.
- We have obtained more than $2 billion in positive results for past survivors.
- We believe in personal and attentive client care, along with tailored legal services.
Why You Need a San Francisco County School Sexual Abuse Lawyer’s Assistance
San Francisco County contains 127 schools and thousands of vulnerable students. It is each school district’s responsibility to protect these students from crimes such as sexual abuse by staff members. When sex crimes do occur, it may not be easy to go up against a public school district alone. Hiring an attorney from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can make the entire claims process easier on you and your family. You can focus on moving forward while your lawyer handles legal matters on your behalf.
What Is School Sexual Abuse?
School sexual abuse can refer to any type of sexual touching, contact or activity without the victim’s consent or involving a child under the age of 18. In California, the consent law says that minors who are 17 and younger are not old enough to give their consent to sexual activity. This means any type of sexual contact with a child constitutes sexual abuse. Sexual abuse at a school generally refers to an ongoing pattern or behavior of illegal or inappropriate sexual contact involving a student.
School sexual assault and abuse can involve:
- Inappropriate sexual comments or remarks
- Touching of the genitals or private parts
- Touching of a female’s breasts
- Kissing or inappropriate hugging
- Groping or rubbing
- Spying on students while changing
- Exposing a child to pornographic images
- Rape or attempted rape
- Statutory rape
- Penetration or sodomy
- Oral copulation
- Exposure of sexual organs
- Child pornography
- Sexual violence or threats
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments, school districts have certain responsibilities and obligations regarding student welfare. This includes a requirement to promptly and properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, assault or abuse. If you or your child suffered any type of sexual abuse or harassment in grades K-12 at a San Francisco County school, the attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can help you file a lawsuit for the school district’s failure to keep the victim safe.
Types of Cases We Accept
Our attorneys are incredibly experienced and committed to helping victims of school sexual abuse, assault and harassment. We have decades of experience exclusively practicing sexual abuse plaintiff’s law. Our attorneys understand California’s sexual abuse and assault laws, as well as how to go up against a public entity – including a school district – on behalf of a client. Our law firm is capable of handling many different types of school sexual abuse cases, including:
- Student-against-student sexual abuse
- Teacher-against-student sexual abuse
- Coach or sports sexual abuse
- Counselor sexual abuse
- Locker room sexual assault
- Bathroom sexual assault
- Sexual bullying
- Sexual hazing
- Internet sex crimes
- School nurse sexual abuse
- After-school program sexual abuse
- University of San Francisco sexual assault
- Sexual abuse or assault on a field trip
If you don’t see your type of case on this list, contact us for a personalized case evaluation. This is not a comprehensive list of every type of case that we accept in San Francisco. Our attorneys have years of experience going up against school districts on behalf of our clients in a multitude of sexual abuse cases. We empathize with what you’re going through and will aggressively pursue justice on your behalf.
Are You Eligible for Recovery?
Recovery refers to financial compensation for your losses in the civil justice system. Although financial gain is not the main reason most survivors come forward with their cases, it is a right afforded to them for the harm they suffered as a result of the school sexual abuse. You may have a claim to financial recovery if your lawyer can prove the defendant breached a duty of care owed to you, and that this is what caused the sexual abuse to occur. A successful lawsuit could result in compensation for a wide range of damages.
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological harm
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lost quality of life
- Medications such as antidepressants
- The costs of therapy
- Lost wages
- Legal expenses
- Punitive damages
An attorney from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can evaluate your claim to help you understand what your specific case could be worth. Then, we can help you litigate your claim in a way that will maximize your odds of obtaining a settlement or judgment award. Retaining one of our sexual abuse attorneys could help you get the best possible results for your case.
Signs of School Sexual Abuse in San Francisco
Sadly, school sexual abuse is widely underreported. Many child victims do not report what is happening to them or tell anyone. They may not understand what happened to them or have the vocabulary to verbalize their experience. Victims also stay silent for fear of not being believed or fear of retaliation from the perpetrator. Feelings of guilt or shame can also silence a survivor. Finally, some victims block out what happened to them for many years.
Whatever the case may be, underreporting makes it important for parents, teachers, counselors and others who regularly interact with school-aged children to be aware of the potential signs of sexual abuse. Common signs include:
- Physical injuries, especially to the thighs or genitals
- Unusual knowledge of sexual subjects
- Nightmares or flashbacks
- Bedwetting or regression in young children
- Not wanting to get undressed or bathe
- Unkempt appearance or poor hygiene
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Mental health problems, such as depression or chronic anxiety
- Violent or aggressive behaviors
- Outbursts or behavioral problems
- Sudden decrease in school performance
- Truancy (skipping school)
- Sexual promiscuity
- Teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal tendencies or self-harm
The signs of sexual abuse change according to the age of the child, the nature of the abuse and the individual. If you have any reason at all to suspect school sexual abuse in San Francisco, have a conversation with the child. Explain that he or she isn’t in trouble and is in a safe place. If you discover any evidence of sexual abuse or assault, contact an attorney from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for assistance.
How to Report School Sexual Abuse in San Francisco County
If you suspect school sexual abuse in San Francisco County, report it to the proper authorities immediately. Speaking up and reporting child sexual abuse is necessary to get justice for the victim. Prompt reporting can help protect the victim from further abuse, as well as prevent other students from suffering the same fate. Take the following steps to correctly report school sexual abuse in San Francisco County:
- Make sure the victim is in a safe location. The victim should feel safe, comfortable and heard. Get the victim medical care, if necessary.
- If the situation is urgent or an emergency, call 911 right away to report the incident.
- If it is not an emergency, call the San Francisco Police Department nonemergency number at (415) 553-0123 to report a crime.
- If the crime was committed within 96 hours, take the victim to a medical provider for a sexual assault forensic exam. This can collect DNA evidence.
- Notify San Francisco County Child Protective Services by calling the Family & Children’s Services Hotline at (800) 856-5553, available 24/7.
- File a formal Title IX complaint with the San Francisco Unified School District for an official investigation. Call (415) 355-7334 or email email@example.com.
- Get mental health care and therapy for the victim. You can use a hotline, such as RAINN at (800) 656-4673, or take the child to a psychiatrist.
- Contact a school sexual abuse attorney near you for legal advice and assistance. An attorney can inform you of your legal rights and help you bring a civil lawsuit against the San Francisco County School District.
In California, certain people are required by law to report instances of suspected or actual child sexual abuse. These people are referred to as mandated reporters. They include teachers, teacher assistants, school administrators, health care workers and social workers. Mandated reporters legally must report suspected cases of school sexual abuse to law enforcement personnel and social services agencies within 36 hours of learning or suspecting the abuse. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.
Who Is Liable for San Francisco County School Sexual Abuse?
When a student or child is sexually abused at a school in San Francisco County, the victim often has the right to bring a lawsuit against one or multiple parties. In many cases, the school or school district can be held responsible for cases of student sexual abuse and assault. For example, after sexual abuse at a public school in San Francisco, a family may be able to bring a claim against the San Francisco County Unified School District.
School districts are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. This includes teachers, coaches, administrators and counselors at each school within the district. If an employee sexually abuses a student, the district can be held responsible. The district could also be liable for its own negligence, such as the failure to conduct background checks on staff members or respond appropriately to sexual assault complaints.
California’s Laws for Public Entity Liability
If your family wishes to go up against the San Francisco County Unified School District for school sexual abuse, you will need to navigate California’s Government Code. California has a law that protects government agencies and public entities from liability for most tort actions. However, there are exceptions to the rule. California passed a Tort Claims Act that allows the general population to sue the government in certain scenarios. These cases come with special rules and proceedings.
For example, a written notice of a claim must be sent to the government agency within six months of the date of the injury. However, this is not the case with a child sexual abuse or assault lawsuit. California has a longer deadline specifically for these cases, due to the traumatic nature of sexual assault. There are still specific procedures that must be followed to successfully file a lawsuit against a school district. An attorney in San Francisco can help you.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
Assembly Bill 218 recently changed the way the civil courts treat sexual abuse claims against government entities in California. Previously, if you had a case against a public school district in San Francisco County, you would have to bring your claim within 6 to 12 months of the last incident of abuse. Although a 2008 law changed this rule, it only changed it for people with cases after January 1st, 2009.
Today, however, AB-218 has eliminated the government tort claims requirement on all childhood sexual abuse cases, regardless of when the last incident occurred. Under AB-218, if you are a survivor of childhood sexual assault and wish to bring a lawsuit against a public school district in San Francisco County, you will have longer than six months to do so. You should still, however, contact an attorney as soon as possible about your case to make sure you do not miss an important deadline.
The current statute of limitations on a school district sexual abuse case in California is until the victim turns 40 years old. If a survivor of child sexual abuse does not recognize the connection between his or her mental health disorder and sexual abuse at school, however, he or she has five years from the date of discovery to file, even if this is past the age of 40. The law was changed because lawmakers recognized the emotional trauma and difficulty that many survivors have in coming forward.
Do Not Wait – Contact a School Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
From your very first conversation with an attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, you will know we have your best interests at heart. We have dedicated our lives and careers to preventing childhood sexual abuse. We are extremely passionate about what we do and how we help survivors. If you are curious as to whether you have a case against a school district in San Francisco County, please call (800) 700-8450 for a free consultation about your situation with one of our attorneys. Consultations at our firm are 100% confidential.